Michael Levy Arm Yourself with Sales 2.0 Intelligence Tools
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By Michael Levy

Abstract

Sales intelligence services have evolved rapidly over the past few years. Traditional sales tools were general business information databases that supported list building, but they have matured into powerful information services with richer workflow functionality around companies, executives, and industries. The leading Sales 2.0 services support workflow integration into CRMs and help sales reps target who to call, when to call, and what to say.

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Over the past few years, a term called Sales 2.0 has sprung up to describe changes in the B2B sales environment. Sales 2.0 is not a single technology or process, but a recognition that the web has changed information availability, processes, and relationships. Buyers are much better informed than they were a decade ago. Not only can they identify potential solutions more easily, but they often conduct preliminary research and winnow the solutions list before ever discussing requirements with a sales rep. According to the Corporate Executive Board, 57% of the buying process is completed before buyers even contact a company.

Sales reps no longer have the ability to control information and sales processes, nor can they enter a conversation under a veil of ignorance. Therefore, B2B sales reps need sales intelligence tools to help rebalance the relationship between buyers and sellers. If buyers are armed with information from websites, trade publications, social media, and multimedia, then sellers need to catch up in this information arms race.

They can start with the free web, but the internet is a cacophony which does a poor job of helping sales reps identify who to call, when to call, and what to say. Sales 2.0 tools help filter this noise through intelligent aggregation, semantic tagging, and personalisation and then deliver sales insights through web browsers, mobile devices, and CRM integration.

The term Sales 2.0 is a bit of a catch-all and includes predictive analytics firms such as Mintigo, LeadSpace, and Lattice Engines; sales playbooks from vendors such as Qvidian and Savo; connection discovery from LinkedIn Sales Navigator; and sales intelligence services from Hoover’s, InsideView, OneSource, and Bureau van Dijk (BvD). 

The core content and functionality of the Sales 1.0 Intelligence Services was in place by 2003. These services were general purpose information resources that helped build prospecting lists, perform quick qualification, conduct background research, and identify other locations at a firm; but they were walled garden content services that didn’t tie into CRMs or leverage the open web very well.

Sales 2.0 services answer the questions, “Who to call, when to call, and what to say.” While information sets such as people lists and biographies have long been available in sales intelligence services, it is the aggregation of this content from disparate sources and the integration of this content into a single-view, cross-platform, workflow solution that differentiates Sales 2.0 services from first generation tools.

FreePint Subscribers can log in to find out more by reading Michael's article Sales Intelligence Comes of Age with Sales 2.0.

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